Are You Selfish Enough?

 Let’s re-frame the word “selfish”

When I was about 20 years old, I read a book titled, “When I Say “No”, I Feel Guilty”. That book was an eye-opener for me.  As a shy college student, I wanted to be liked, I wanted to think of myself as a nice person, and I was afraid to deal with conflict.  I thought saying “Yes” was the nice thing to do.  Eventually, I got the hang of saying “No”, but I must admit the temptation to feel guilty can still rear it’s ugly head. Loving myself enough to be “selfish” is an ongoing process.

DON'T BE SELFISH.framedA lot of us were taught to believe that it’s “selfish” to ask for what you want, or say “No” to what you don’t want. But stop and think about it: Who was the first person to accuse you of being “selfish”?  It was probably a parent or maybe a sibling. As very young children, we learn that we’re supposed to play nice, share our toys, and let Johnny go first.  These are important lessons for a 3 year old. But as an adult, if you ignore your own needs in order to play Mr. Nice Guy, you lose.  You lose your self-respect, your power, and your autonomy.  It might make everyone around you happy, but are you happy?

Here are five clues that you may not be selfish enough:

1) You’re more concerned with what’s fair to others than what’s fair to you.

2) You attract people who are very focused on themselves.

3) You’re afraid to ask for what you want.

4) You’re not sure what you want.

5) When you say “No”, you feel guilty.

Let’s turn it around.

  • Give yourself permission to be selfish.  Give yourself permission to be self-loving.
  • Listen to your gut feelings. Is your gut saying “Yes” or “No”?  If someone asks you to do something, check in with how you feel. Does the thought of doing it make you feel heavy or light?
  • Know that if you say “No”, the other person is free to react however they choose, but you don’t need to feel guilty about being true to yourself.
  • Take time in solitude to listen deeply to the prayer of your heart. What is your heart’s desire?  Then, have the courage to ask for what you want.
  • Take some steps, however big or small, to create a life that makes your soul sing.

As Jeshua says, in The Way of Mastery, “Self love is the love of the Creator. You cannot love the Creator while rejecting the Creator’s creation.”  Self love.WOM.lily

So, it turns out that loving yourself is actually the spiritual thing to do!  Who knew?

Leave a comment and let me know an act of self-loving-kindness that you did today.

 


Who is the Authority on You?

Confused

Consider these scenarios:

  • When a student said “No” to the sexual advances of her teacher, the teacher responded, “You need to learn about spiritual surrender.”
  • After a young woman told her ex-husband that she didn’t want him to come by the house, he yelled, “You’re just reacting out of fear, and fear is an illusion.”
  • A man received an unexpected letter from an angry friend who pointed out all the mistakes the man made in raising his son, and blamed the man for the problems in his son’t life.

As you read these scenarios, it’s probably obvious that there’s a lot of manipulation going on here,  But, in real life, when you’re in the heat of an argument or you need to confront an authority figure, the emotional charge of the situation can cloud your thinking. It can be difficult to see yourself clearly, when someone tries to convince you that they are RIGHT about you…when they claim to be right about everything you’re doing wrong.

Who is the authority on you?  You are!  As Wayne Dyer says, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

pointing fingerBut what if you get thrown off balance by other people’s judgment or criticism of you?  You might feel especially vulnerable when dealing with someone in a position of authority. For example, if a spiritual leader, a teacher, parent, or someone you consider to be an expert has a negative opinion about you, you might be tempted to value their point of view more than your own. This can also happen with friends, your spouse or partner, or even an enemy.  You might get “hooked” by how they feel about you and how they see you.

If you find yourself going into confusion or self-doubt, and you’re wondering if maybe the other person is

right about their negative perception of you, here are some red flags to watch out for:

Does the person…

  • Use spiritual ideas to make you wrong, shame you, or put you down
  • Analyze your actions and tell you exactly how messed up you are
  • Tell you, directly or indirectly, that you don’t know what you’re talking about
  • Say you shouldn’t be setting the boundaries you’re setting
  • Deny your feelings
  • Claim to know, better than you do, what is best for you
  • Blame you for the pain they are feeling

All of the above are tactics for undermining your sense of your own integrity and inner authority.  Don’t get hooked!

No one can tell you who you should be, what you should believe, or how you should be feeling.

*Please leave a comment and let me know how you keep yourself from getting sucked in to other people’s judgments about you.


The Call of My Soul

eclipse 3

I started to get the call sometime last spring.  It was around the time of the eclipses, in April and May of 2013.  The eclipses, in Taurus and Scorpio, were impacting my North and South Nodes, as well as my Taurus Moon.  As an astrologer, I knew that big changes were afoot, and I knew which aspects of my life might be up for an evolutionary renovation, but I didn’t  know the details of how it would manifest.

With one of the eclipses directly on my Moon, it seemed to be a good time to do some healing work with my ancestral line.  I chose a beautiful Beech tree as the place to lay an altar for my ancestors.  Each time I sat by the altar and spoke with my Grandmothers of generations past, I felt an urge to connect more deeply with the energies and spirits of nature.  I sensed invisible portals in the natural world that I wanted to be able to move through.  Perhaps I would uncover new levels of understanding life and Spirit.  I wanted to learn how to navigate in those realms.Beech tree

To support that calling to relate with nature in a more multi-dimensional way, I began reading a book by Bill Plotkin, called “Soul Craft”.  The first section of the book talks about how there are times in our lives when we get a call from our souls, prompting us to move deeper into our soul work.  Each time I opened the book and read a bit more about this process of “getting the call” I would ask myself, “Is what I’m sensing a call?”

Here I was, in a sweet, loving and committed relationship….something I’d longed for my whole life…yet I felt an intense desire to be alone…to be with nature….to be with silence…to follow my own rhythm through the day. Yes, we had some challenges between us, as every couple does, and maybe they could have been worked through.  But as I searched my heart, as seriously and thoroughly as I could, all I could find was an irresistible urge to fly solo.

Sensing myself on the verge of a whole new phase of life, I wanted total freedom to respond to this soul call and discover who, or what, I was morphing into.

Yes, it was a call from my soul!

How did I know?  Because it was so strong it felt irresistible.  Because every time I checked in with my gut, my personal “truth meter”, my direction was clear.  I needed to move forward by myself.

It was ironic, because in my work as a relationship coach, I spent a lot of time asking others, “What’s your heart’s desire?”  Now, the discovery of my own heart’s desire took me by surprise.  It was the desire to be on my own, to hear and follow the moment by moment urgings of this soul call.

It was a difficult decision to unravel the life I had co-created with my partner…dissolving our intimate partnership, moving out of our home, saying good bye to our dog, and undoing the links between our businesses.  It also foreshadowed a shift in my work.

Suddenly the niche of Relationship Coaching felt too narrow for me.  I felt inspired to broaden my work beyond the realm of intimate relationships and attend to the Call of the Soul.  It is through hearing and following that call that we can be true to our authentic selves, in all aspects of life.  That’s where we find our power, our joy, and our fulfillment.

On this late fall afternoon, 6 months after the spring eclipses, I write this from a beautiful home in Taos, NM.  I’m warm and cozy, as clouds descend on Taos Mountain, shrouding it from view.  Inside the house, I’m embraced by the sound of silence.  Then, the rhythm of rain, drumming on the roof.

IMG_2343

How did I get here?  My soul brought me here!

 


The Heart and Soul of Desire

Heart and soul of desire

My earliest encounter with Eastern philosophy came via Hippy culture, in the early 80’s. The take-away message went something like this: “Let go of all attachments. Let go of all desires.”  One cold winter’s eve, I attempted to follow that guidance and be “spiritual” by throwing away a box of photographs and memorabilia from my childhood.  That rash act may have cleared out some space in my closet, but it didn’t do a thing for my enlightenment!  These many years later, my understanding has deepened and become more nuanced. We don’t need to let go of all desires in order to be “spiritually-correct”. In fact, our desires can actually lead us along our spiritual way.

Our hearts’ desires and our souls’ intentions are naturally aligned.  Their shared purpose is to support our evolution and spiritual awakening.  A Course in Miracles describes the “prayer of the heart” and how our hearts know, perhaps better than our minds, what we truly desire. “What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying…The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience.” (A Course in Miracles, Teachers Manual)  For example, your heart may be asking for a deeply connected, loving experience. Your heart isn’t saying “Give me a single professional who loves Salsa dancing and sushi.”

Spiritual teacher, Bentinho Massaro writes: “If you have passionate desires raging within that are not just revolving around protecting yourself, but feel truly inspired, that bear with them a spark of excitement, of joy, of possibilities…then they have a very real purpose. They are a glimpse into your possible future…Let it all out, and act on it with respect and integrity toward your environment and the beings in it…Everything you see is the result of desire. Without desire, there wouldn’t be creation. Thus, even The One, The Absolute, has desires. Why try to be more non-dual than The One?”

The important question is not “Should I have desires?” but “Where is the desire arising from?” Is it coming from ego or from your essence?  The litmus test is this:  Is the desire driven by fear? If so, that’s your ego talking.  The ego is based on separation consciousness, which breeds fear and a belief in lack.  Yet the heart and soul are rooted in your essence, which is love. Your heart and soul know that you are already whole and interconnected with all of life. From that place of love, wholeness, and interconnection spring the profound intentions of your soul and the precious prayers of your heart. What are they whispering to you?